Court Cases I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

UPDATE: Former FAMU DRS Football Star Convicted of Molestation

By: Eyewitness News; Angelica Alvarez, Associated Press; Lanetra Bennett,Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News; Angelica Alvarez, Associated Press; Lanetra Bennett,Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 8.8.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A former FAMU High football star serving a life sentence for child molestation will not stand trial a second time.

Ralph Monroe was recently convicted of sexually molesting an eight year old boy in a school bathroom. Monroe was given a mandatory life sentence for it.

The prosecutor decided this week to drop a second case against Monroe.

The victim of that assault attempt testified during the first trial.

The prosecutor says he did not want to make the young boy testify again.

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Tallahassee, Florida- July 24, 2012 by Julie Montanaro

The verdict is in for a molestation case in which a little boy claimed he was molested by another student in a school bathroom.

Ralph Monroe was accused of molesting an eight year old boy at FAMU DRS, which is a k-12 school.

Ralph Monroe was convicted of sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation. Monroe was promptly sentenced to life in prison for it.

The little boy took the stand and testified that a "big kid" came up behind him in a bathroom stall and proceeded to molest him.

"I went to the bathroom. I was trying to use the restroom and when I was done, he was touching me in the front and back. He told me to play a game. I said no and then he asked me again and I said no," the boy testified.

It all came to light when the little boy came up to a teacher in the hallway at FAMU DRS in May 2011 and told her he was afraid to go into the bathroom with Ralph Monroe standing nearby.

"The first grader just said to me 'I can't go to the bathroom, I can't go in there," teacher Sandra Grant testified. "The two of us, the two teachers asked what do you mean you can't go in the bathroom? The young student said, pointing to the person knocking at the door, 'That If I go in there, he's going to bother me.' What do you mean he's going to bother you? The first grader said 'he would ask how I use the bathroom and he will tell me let's play a game with it."

The eight year old would go on to pick Monroe out of a photo line up and tell investigators it wasn't the first time.

Monroe denied the allegations repeatedly in an audio taped interview with FDLE. He told the FDLE agent that the boy made it up, but eventually admitted he did touch the boy and offered an apology.

"I made a stupid mistake," he said on the tape. "From the bottom of my heart, I am deeply sorry," he said. He asked the agent to apologize to the child and his parents and said, "It'll never happen again."

The defense argued Monroe was never read his Miranda rights that day. She told the jury Monroe may have touched the boy, but there was no proof of any penetration and no testimony that indicated the exact date of the incident. She argued Monroe may have been 17 years old at the time, not 18.

The jury didn't hesitate to convict Monroe. It deliberated for less than an hour.

"Mr. Monroe wanted his day in court and I believe every citizen has a right to a day in court and every citizen is entitled to a jury trial. He exercised that right. The jury spoke and we have to accept it," defense attorney Barbara Hobbs said afterward.

Within minutes of that verdict, Monroe was sentenced to life in prison. He'll now be a registered sexual predator.

His attorney vows to appeal saying the FDLE agent who interviewed Monroe should have read him his rights.

We tried to talk with family members on both sides of the aisle, but all of them declined to be interviewed.
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Tallahassee, Florida- July 24, 2012- 4:10pm

Ralph Monroe has been found guilty.
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Tallahassee, Florida- July 24, 2012- 3pm

Attorneys are beginning closing arguments.

The prosecutor says the 8 year old doesn't know what sexual battery is, but he knows what Monroe did hurt.

Prosecutor Jack Campbell spoke for less than 10 minutes.

Defense attorney Barbara Hobbs is now making her closing arguments.

Hobbs says evidence shows there was molestation, but not penetration. She says the officer did all he could to get what he wanted out of Monroe without a lawyer present.

As of 2:55pm, the jury was deliberating.

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UPDATED 2:15pm by Julie Montanaro

The defense has rested its case without calling any witnesses.

Attorneys will soon begin closing arguments.

The judge ruled that as part of the jury instructions, he will tell the jury that he made a previous legal ruling that Monroe was not required to be read his Miranda rights when he talked to the FDLE agent in that "non-custodial" interview. The defense vehemently objected.

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Updated 12:30pm by Julie Montanaro

The state has rested its case against Ralph Monroe.

Monroe told the judge he would not be testifying.

The defense will begin after lunch.

One of the final witnesses of the morning was another eight year old boy who says Ralph Monroe approached him in the bathroom too and asked if he wanted to play a game. The boy says he ran when Monroe asked him "pants up or pants down?"

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Tallahassee, Florida - July 24, 2012 - Noon -

A former star football player at FAMU High is now on trial. Ralph Monroe is accused of molesting an 8-year-old boy in the school bathroom.

The eight year old has since turned nine and he testified a "big kid" walked up behind him in the bathroom stall and touched him.

The child picked Ralph Monroe out of a photo line up. He says Monroe asked him if he wanted to play a game.

The same FDLE agent who interviewed the child went to Alabama to interview Ralph Monroe a fee months later.

On the tape Monroe repeatedly told the agent the child was making it up and he never touched him. But by the end of the interview - which was about 30 minutes long - Monroe said he did do it. Monroe asked the agent to tell the boy and his parents he was deeply sorry and it would never happen again.

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Updated 7.24.2012 by Julie Montanaro

The same FDLE investigator who interviewed the 8 year old boy interviewed Ralph Monroe in a conference room at his college in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Prosecutors played an audio tape of that interview in court. FDLE agent Terry Thomas asked Monroe about the allegations made by the boy.

Monroe repeatedly said "I didn't do it."

"You didn't touch him?"

"No."

"He came in and I walked right out," Monroe said on tape.

"He made all this up? Is that what you're telling me?"

"Yes sir."

The FDLE agent told Monroe that this wasn't going away. "You can't undo it," he said.

By the end of the interview, Monroe admitted to touching the boy. "I went that far," Monroe said and told the agent he asked the child if he wanted to play a game.

"I made a stupid mistake," Monroe said on the tape. He said to tell the boy's parents "I'm deeply sorry" and "nothing like this will ever happen again."

The defense attorney pointed out that no one read Monroe his Miranda rights before that interview.

On cross examination, Thomas admitted he had a warrant in his pocket and Monroe would have been arrested that day no matter what he said.

Thomas said this type of "non-custodial interview" is common in law enforcement. He says he told Monroe he was free to go at any time and never coerced Monroe into staying or saying anything.

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Updated 9:55am by Julie Montanaro

A 9 year old boy took the stand and testified that 'a guy' touched his penis and his buttocks when he went to use the bathroom at school.

He says he told a teacher he was afraid to use the bathroom again because the guy would "bother him."

The boy picked Ralph Monroe's picture out of a photo line up during the investigation, but when asked if he saw the man who did this to him in court, he said no.

Monroe was a senior at FAMU DRS at the time of the alleged incident. It is a K-12 school.

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July 24, 2012 by Julie Montanaro

Ralph Monroe is now on trial for sexual battery and lewd and lascivious conduct.

He is accused of molesting an eight year old boy in the bathroom at FAMU DRS.

There are six women and one man on the jury.

Prosecutors contend Monroe molested the child on more than one occasion. Jack Campbell says a teacher noticed Monroe knocking on the door of the elementary wing. She says a little boy told her he was afraid to go in to the bathroom next door because Monroe would want to play a game.

Prosecutors say when questioned by an FDLE investigator later, Monroe admitted to touching the boy.

Defense attorney Barbara Hobbs asked the jury to balance "the horrific sound in your ear with the defendant's right to a fair and impartial trial."

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UPDATED 7.23.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Jury selection is now underway in the sexual battery case of former FAMU High football player Ralph Monroe.

Testimony in the trial is expected to begin tomorrow.

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Tallahassee, Florida- July 17, 2012

The former FAMU High School football player accused of molesting two boys was in court today.

Ralph Monroe was arrested late last year for molesting two 8-year-old boys in a bathroom at FAMU Developmental Research School.
This afternoon, his lawyer asked the judge for the victims' school records to see if the boys were friends at the K-through-12 school.
Attorney Barbara Hobbs says the victims' statements are almost identical to a third boy's accusation.

Said Barbara Hobbs: "I want to know if all three of these kids are in the same classes, go to the same P.E. and things of that nature. I don't want anything from them other than what classes they were in and if they were in each other's classes."

The judge told Hobbs she has until Friday to write the subpoena to ask specifically for the boys' school schedule.

Monroe's trial is scheduled to start next week.

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Tallahassee, Florida- May 8, 2012

A former football standout at FAMU High accused of molesting boys in the school bathroom faced a judge on May 8th.

Ralph Monroe is set to stand trial later this month. Attorneys were in court yesterday afternoon, arguing over the admissibility of evidence. Monroe's attorney tried to have his confession thrown out, but the judge said no. The judge has not yet decided whether the boys taped statements can be played for the jury.

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UPDATED 2.22.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A football standout accused of molesting two boys at FAMU DRS will have to await trial in jail.

Ralph Monroe is accused of molesting one boy and sexually battering another.

Once prosecutors filed charges in the second case, they asked a judge to revoke Monroe's bond.

The judge did that yesterday.

Monroe's trial is set for May. He could face life in prison if he's convicted.

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Updated by Lanetra Bennett - Tallahassee, FL - 12-30-11

Authorities are investigating another molestation charge against a former local high school football standout.

Law enforcement officials say the second victim in the Ralph Monroe case is also an 8-year-old boy.

When 18-year-old Ralph Monroe stood in court December 20th, a judge told him that he was lucky not to be in jail for his child molestation charges.

But, this time, Monroe wasn't so lucky.

A judge denied him bail Thursday morning after a second arrest.

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Monroe was arrested December 28th for attempted sexual battery on a child under 12.

Tallahassee resident Marion Johnson says, "I think it was one of the most terrible things that could take place in our community for this young man to do what he did to this young fellow."

Monroe was arrested back in October for molesting an 8-year-old boy in a bathroom at FAMU Developmental Research School.

Monroe and the victim were both students at the K-through-12 school.

Tallahassee resident Ethel Morris says, "It really breaks my heart to see a young person, especially a young person in school doing something like that. That is really bad, that's really bad."

FDLE says the second victim came forward during the initial investigation.

A spokesperson says the victim is also an 8-year-old boy.

He says the incident happened at FAMU D.R.S., but would not say exactly where.

Johnson says, "Who knows? It might be some more to come forward."

FDLE says it won't speculate on that possibility, but points out it is still an open investigation.

Monroe was attending Stillman College in Alabama on a football scholarship before his arrests.

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Updated by Lanetra Bennett - Tallahassee, Florida - December 30, 2011 -

FDLE says 18-year-old Ralph Monroe was arrested December 28th at his home in Gadsden County. He was taken to the Leon County Jail.
Monroe was arrested earlier this month for molesting an 8-year-old boy. Authorities say it happened in a bathroom at FAMU D.R.S, which is a K-12 school near FAMU.

An FDLE spokesperson says the second victim came forward during that investigation. The spokesperson says the latest victim is also an 8-year-old boy. FDLE says the alleged incident happened at the school but they have not released exactly where. Monroe is charged with one count of attempted sexual battery on a child under 12. The investigation is still active.

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Man Charged with Child Rape Attempt at FAMU DRS

Tallahassee, FL (AP) - A student who graduated from Florida A&M University's Developmental Research School is under arrest and charged with trying to rape an 8-year-old boy who was also attending the school.

It's the second time this year 18-year-old Ralph Monroe has been arrested. He was also arrested in October and charged with two counts of molesting another 8-year-old student at the pre-school through grade 12 school operated by the university.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Monroe was rearrested Wednesday night at his Gadsden County home after a second alleged victim came forward. He is being held without bond at the Leon County Jail.

The lawyer representing him on the charges was not immediately known. Monroe graduated from the school last spring and was attending Stillman College in Alabama.

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Tallahassee, Florida- December 29, 211 -

A former local high school football standout was back in court.
He's accused of molesting an eight year old boy on the FAMU DRS campus.

18-year-old Ralph Monroe was denied bond this morning on a sexual assault charge. On December 20th, he was denied bond on a sexual battery charge in the same case.

The FAMU DRS graduate was arrested in October and accused of molesting a child while he attended FAMU DRS, which is a K-12 school near FAMU's campus.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – December 20, 2011 - 2pm -

The FAMU Public Safety Department, working in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, arrested Ralph Monroe in October 2011 and charged him with lewd and lascivious molestation and sexual battery on a child under 12 years of age.

Monroe's attorney requested to allow Monroe to go back to college in Alabama. The judge denied the motion. Monroe remains on house arrest in Tallahassee.

Judge James Hankinson says Monroe shouldn't have been out on bond in the first place with his offenses.

The trial is set for March 12th.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – December 20, 2011 -

Florida A&M University (FAMU) Public Safety Department working in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Ralph Monroe in October 2011 and charged him with lewd and lascivious molestation and sexual battery on a child under 12 years of age. The alleged incident took place at FAMU Developmental Research School (FAMU-DRS).

Since the investigation, FAMU DRS further strengthened its measures to protect the health and safety of all of the students. The administration has made several changes to the security of FAMU DRS since the beginning of the school year. They are as follows:

- Secured the external gates during the school day.

- Purchased and implemented a Raptor system to perform background checks of all visitors and volunteers.

- Changed the drop-off and pick-up patterns for the elementary school to prohibit anyone from entering the building after the school day. The administration has redirected siblings and parents to the external doors so that anyone coming into the building would be visible to the teachers.

- Increased supervision of all students after school. The administration has created additional duty rosters for teachers to supervise after the school day.

- Increased its supervised after-care programs (that are free of charge) for both elementary and secondary students. Added two free programs so that parents who could not afford after-school care would have something available to them.

- Hired an additional security for after-school hours.

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UPDATE -December 16, 2011

Tallahassee - A football star and FAMU DRS graduate is arrested, accused of molesting a child while he attended FAMU DRS, which is a K-12 school near FAMU's campus.

Reports from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows 18-year old Ralph Monroe has been under a cloud of suspicion for months. Monroe is a local football star. WCTV interviewed him in January when the defensive lineman played in the Border Wars All-Star Game. His talent earned him a football scholarship at Stillman College in Alabama, that's where officers would later arrest him.

FDLE released a timeline of their investigation. It shows in May this year, a teacher at FAMU DRS told them, 'Child A', as he is referred to in the report refused to go into a bathroom. The eight-year-old told the teacher that if he goes into the bathroom, "Monroe will hurt him." The teacher called FAMU police and the child told them he had been molested by Ralph Monroe, more than once. He said Monroe would approach him in the bathroom and ask, "Do you want to play a game with me?"

The abuse involved inappropriate touching, then escalated. The report shows that Monroe penetrated the child with his fingers. Monroe graduated, and in August began attending Stillman College on a football scholarship.

In October, Stillman College police interviewed Monroe. That's when they say he confessed to molesting the boy. After confessing, Monroe was arrested for two counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 12.

He was booked into jail in Alabama then transported to the Leon County Jail.

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Tallahassee, FL -- December 16, 2011 --

A standout football player and former FAMU DRS student is arrested, accused of molesting a child on campus of FAMU (the K through 12 school).

Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators say 18-year old Ralph Monroe molested an eight-year old boy.

Agents say in May 2011, Monroe molested the child in a school bathroom on two occasions.

Agents caught up with Monroe in Alabama, where he a freshman at Stillman College on a football scholarship.

Officials say Monroe confessed to the crime and is currently in the Leon County Jail.


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